Cold weather is coming, be prepared for the freezing temperatures

Published 12:15 pm Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Some of the coldest weather of the season will show up for Christmas. The National Weather Service is forecasting snow for Friday and Saturday with some brutal cold temperatures. Winter officially begins today.
Although we have experienced rather mild temperatures, it is time to start preparing for the brutal cold coming our way this weekend.
Among the several hazards that winter weather brings are the health risks posed by sustained exposure to extreme cold. It can lower body temperature, which weakens the immune system, and it can exacerbate chronic diseases like asthma, arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular and lung disease, among others.
Also, cases of carbon monoxide exposure peak during the winter, when people are more likely to use generators, stoves and home heating systems that may not be properly maintained.
All of that is to say, it’s worth preparing for winter and thinking about what is needed if the power goes out or you end up stranded on a snowy road in frigid temperatures.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, along with other state agencies, have put together a list of winter preparedness and safety tips to aid you in your winter preparations.
Some of those tips include:
• When the temperature drops, check on family, friends and neighbors who are particularly vulnerable to cold and snowy weather.
• Build a home preparedness kit that includes winter supplies such as snow shovels, ice melting products, extra warm clothes and blankets, flashlights and batteries.
• Follow a trusted weather source, such as the National Weather Service, to be aware of any predicted snow or sleet or severe cold temperatures.
• Sign up for emergency alerts and determine how you will receive information if you are traveling out of town.
• Leave the heat on in your home and set the thermostat to no lower than 50 degrees while you’re away during cold weather.
Also check for fire safety where you live, where you work, and everywhere you go during the holidays.
Cut trees placed in the home for Christmas are a constant concern to firefighters because of the extreme flammability of a tree that has lost its moisture. Special precautions need to be observed, including selecting a tree with green needles that do not fall too easily from the branches. Also, the trunk should be sticky to the touch.
Place the tree in a location away from heat sources, and add water every day during the recommended two-week limit on displaying a cut tree indoors.
Inspect tree lighting for frayed or damaged wiring and check for cracked sockets. Replace worn strands with new sets.
When using portable, unvented fuel-fired heaters, such as kerosene heaters, make sure to use only the recommended fuel. If it’s necessary to use an electric space heater, use only one that has been approved by an authorized testing laboratory such as UL, and plug the heater directly into an outlet. Keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything combustible.
If heating equipment fails, do not use kitchen stoves or ovens to supply heat.
Never leave candles burning unattended. Consider using battery-operated flameless candles. They can look and smell real, but eliminate the dangers of an open flame.
In the kitchen, prevent fires from starting on the stove by staying in the kitchen and monitoring the food as it is being prepared. If a fire occurs in a pot or pan on the stove, calmly place a lid on it and turn off the burner.
And if a fire does occur inside a home during the holidays, the same safety fundamentals as the rest of the year still apply. Close the doors behind while going outside, call 911 — and never go back inside a burning home. Tell arriving First Responders if anyone is still inside.
At holiday-themed events, blocked exits resulting from improperly placed chairs, tables or even holiday decorations can result in a delay in getting out quickly and safely. The fire marshal’s office suggests we all boost our safety awareness whether at church, school or even local eateries.
As always, common sense and caution will contribute to a safe holiday season.

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